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AAA Oklahoma spokesman Mark Madeja speaks Friday at a news conference highlighting the dangers of leaving children in hot cars. Joining Madeja at the news conference are Beth Washington (left), coordinator for Safe Kids Tulsa Area; Andy Little, public information officer for the Tulsa Fire Department; Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan and Tulsa Fire Department Capt. Joe Sherrell. JERICKA HANDIE/Tulsa World

Calling the practice dangerous and life-threatening, local emergency responders and area safety specialists warned the public about the health risks that might occur when a child is left alone in a hot vehicle.

Beth Washington, Safe Kids Tulsa area coordinator, said their mission is to educate citizens about the dangers of leaving a child unattended during a joint news conference Friday with AAA Oklahoma, the Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa Fire Department.

“Children are not able to withstand the heat like an adult can,” Washington said. “It can be very dangerous and life-threatening.”

The city of Tulsa, in a news release, said children are more susceptible to a heat stroke when left alone. In a car, a young child’s body temperature may increase three to five times faster than an adult.

Washington said cars are like microwaves. Even if it appears to be a nice day, a vehicle could be much warmer inside.

Mark Madeja, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson, said distraction is one of the largest problems in these cases and encouraged the public to leave personal items, such as a shoe or gym bag, in their vehicles as a reminder.

“Establish a peace-of-mind plan,” Madeja said in a statement. “The chances of forgetting your child while walking away from the car with one shoe on, one shoe off are pretty slim.”

Tulsa Fire Capt. Joe Sherrell said bystanders need to act if they see a child in danger.

He said anyone who sees a child in an unattended vehicle should call 911 immediately.


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Jericka Handie

918-859-6548

Jericka.Handie@tulsaworld.com 

Twitter: @jerickahandie 

Jericka is an intern at the Tulsa World. She is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, where she is majoring in journalism. She graduated from Jenks High School. Phone: 918-581-8366

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